Friday, August 28, 2015

Loose Feathers #509

Osprey hovering / Photo by Ron Holmes/USFWS
Birds and birding news
Science and nature blogging
Environment and biodiversity
  • Ash trees in the Emerald Ash Borer's native range produce compounds that discourage the beetles from attacking healthy trees.
  • Melting of sea ice in the Arctic has forced thousands of walruses ashore near Alaska in an unusual mass stranding event.
  • In addition, there have been a series of unexplained whale deaths in the Gulf of Alaska.
  • Damage from Hurricane Katrina lingers in the marshes around New Orleans ten years later. 
  • California may have the worst drought, but other western states have drought trouble too.
  • Urban areas have an average summer temperature 1.9°C higher than surrounding the rural areas; areas with less than 35% impervious surfaces had less severe warming effects.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Loose Feathers #508

Roseate Tern / Photo by Kirk Rogers/USFWS
Birds and birding news
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 Environment and biodiversity

  • Hillary Clinton has come out against oil drilling in the Arctic.
  • Trail cameras recorded wolf pups in northern California. Prior to wolf OR7's visit to the state in 2011, no wolf had been recorded in California since 1924.
  • Some scientists may have found a way to immunize bats against white-nose syndrome.
  • A worldwide survey of non-native plants found that there are 13,168 species that are not native to places where they currently grow and that North America has the highest number of non-native species.
  • Activists call for increasing the share of wind and solar power in New Jersey's next Energy Master Plan. 
  • Progress has been slow on improving management of the newly-created San Gabriel Mountains National Monument.
  • So many coastal towns have been building sea walls that now 14% of the U.S. coastline is covered in concrete.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Loose Feathers #507

Arctic Tern / Photo by Kirk Rogers/USFWS
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Friday, August 07, 2015

Loose Feathers #506

Golden-cheeked Warbler / USFWS Photo
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Friday, July 31, 2015

Loose Feathers #505

Virginia Rail / Photo by Steve Arena/USFWS
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Friday, July 24, 2015

Loose Feathers #504

Black-bellied Whistling-Duck / USFWS Photo
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Saturday, July 18, 2015

National Moth Week 2015

Today is the start of National Moth Week, which runs through next Sunday, July 26. You can participate by doing some mothing yourself or attending one of the many events around the world.

Mothing is fun and easy. I use a CFL black light projected onto a white sheet, but any outdoor light will attract moths if it is left on at night. Some serious moth enthusiasts build traps or put out sugary bait, but mothing need not get that complicated.

Identifying moths is a bit harder than attracting them. There are tens of thousands of species of moths, and while many are distinctive, many others are nearly impossible to identify by sight. In my experience most macromoths can be identified with some effort. One good online resource that I use is the Moth Photographers Group. Another good resource (for people on the west coast) is Pacific Northwest Moths. And of course, BugGuide is also helpful. There are some good print field guides, including the Peterson Field Guide to Moths of Northeastern North America (which I reviewed here) and other regional guides.

Data can be submitted to one of the websites listed here. Some websites like BugGuide and Project Noah will accept unidentified photographs, and volunteer reviewers will try to identify them.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Loose Feathers #503

Piping Plover / Photo by Joel Trick/USFWS
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Friday, July 10, 2015

Loose Feathers #502

Greater Sage-Grouse / Photo by Tom Koerner/USFWS
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Friday, July 03, 2015

Loose Feathers #501

Least Bittern / Photo by Steve Arena/USFWS
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Environment and biodiversity